As the temperature drops and nights draw in, it would be easy to close the door and curtains on the garden and wish it goodnight as you effectively shut it down until spring has sprung. But before you do, let us show you the many ways you can still enjoy your garden space throughout even the coldest months.
There’s more than one shade of green
Winter may feel like a barren time for nature but, if you look closely, you’ll see that the garden is awash with many different shades of green thanks to the hardest working of all the plants and trees – evergreens. Winter is the time when these plants, shrubs and trees come into their own, providing much needed structure and colour to your garden space. How many can you see in your garden?
Time for a tidy
Whether it’s the greenhouse, shed or the dumping area at the bottom of the garden where you keep all those “you never know” items, use the winter months to tidy these spaces, sharpen tools and get the greenhouse ready for the busy spring planting time. Sorting seeds now and creating a planting scheme for the coming season will pay dividends in the long run, whilst imagining the garden full of colour might help winter go a little quicker!
Who says picnics have to be exclusively for summer? Why not crank up the barbeque and have a toasty al fresco dinner. Or grab a cup of home cooked soup and go star gazing all wrapped up in blankets and your ‘big coat’. If Jack Frost comes creeping into the garden then a quiet walk about with a cuppa can open your eyes to a magical world of crystallised beauty, whilst a snowy morning can be best spent with snowball fights followed by a cup of hot chocolate and s’mores around the fire. It may be cold, but it will be beautiful and will create memories you will never forget.
Say hello to my little friend
Wildlife needs our help more than ever in winter as natural food sources are at their lowest. Whether it’s feeding the birds, attracting creepy crawlies or looking to make your garden bee friendly (yes, it is possible!) there are some basic things you can do that will make a big difference:
- Provide birds with high-calorie treats such as suet, sunflower hearts and peanuts. Fallen fruit is also a great natural treat. Top tip: clear the feeding station/table of any debris or rotted food to keep your feathered friends coming back.
- Ensure that ponds, bird baths and water sources are kept free of ice – floating a tennis ball on the surface is a quick and easy way to achieve this.
- Lots of visitors to your garden will be making their home in your compost heap so be super careful when forking out of the heap.
- A simple pile of rocks, logs and leaves will provide a nice winter hotel for creepy crawlies as well as frogs and newts.
- Hedgehogs suffer the worst during winter. By providing a hedgehog home and a regular supply of meaty dog/cat food, you will be helping these prickly wonders to survive another winter.
- Where possible leave the garden dormant. Bugs, bees, birds, and everything in between will be buried, burrowed and hiding so unless you really need to, leave areas untouched so that your tenants can safely make it through winter.
Plant bare-root plants
From roses to hedging and fruit trees, bare-root plants are a cost-effective and easy way to add height and colour to your garden. Tackle the planting before the ground gets too frozen, however.
Look for winter blooms
If you feel your garden is lacking colour then look to plants such as hellebores, cyclamen, snowdrops, crocus, winter iris and aconites for a wide array of colours in even the darkest depths of winter.
Appreciate your greenhouse
The greenhouse is the perfect place to while away time during winter. From tidying up to tending to overwintering pelargoniums, planting succulents, growing citrus fruits or sowing early spring seeds (use a heated propagator to stave off winter chills), time spent in the greenhouse during winter will be well rewarded come spring and summer.
Plant winter containers
Planting winter containers is quick and easy DIY gardening project during the winter. Use evergreens, winter flowers and berries to create a colour splash of greens, reds and golden browns to create something to dress doorways, patios and windowsills.
Winter is the perfect time to prune many types of fruit trees, including blackcurrants, apples, pears, autumn-fruiting raspberries, redcurrants and gooseberries. It’s also a good time to tackle trees, shrubs and roses.
There are plenty of crops that can be harvested in winter – perfect for those winter soups and roast dinners. Crops to harvest in winter are parsnips, kale, Brussel Sprouts, leeks and winter cabbage.